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Nondescriptive Meaning and ReferenceAn Ideational Semantics$
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Wayne A. Davis

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199261652.001.0001

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Word Meaning

Word Meaning

Chapter:
(p.90) 5 Word Meaning
Source:
Nondescriptive Meaning and Reference
Author(s):

Wayne A. Davis (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199261652.003.0005

This chapter defines word meaning in terms of speaker meaning and expression. The definition is recursive: in the basic case, individual words and idioms have meaning because of what they are conventionally used to mean; the recursion clause (the basis of compositionality) is provided by the fact that word structures are conventionally used to express certain idea structures. Different kinds of language are distinguished. What words mean today in living languages is dependent on the conventions that evolve from those of prior users of the language.

Keywords:   word meaning, expression, applied word meaning, idioms, conventions, compositionality, ideas, idea structures, living languages

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